Cal Poly

Construction of new Cal Poly synthetic turf practice field expected to begin by summer

A rendering of Cal Poly’s new Doerr Family Field, where construction is expected to begin by the summer.
A rendering of Cal Poly’s new Doerr Family Field, where construction is expected to begin by the summer.

Cal Poly football and soccer players will no longer have to travel more than a mile across campus to attend practice at the Upper Sports Complex, according to a school release Thursday morning.

Thanks to a lead donation from Richard and Kathleen Doerr, the university plans to begin construction on a new state-of-the-art synthetic turf field where the “I Field” is currently located adjacent to the Cal Poly Track.

Construction of the Doerr Family Field — which will cost and estimated $4 million — is expected to begin by the summer and be available in the fall of 2017.

The new practice field, and particularly the location, will save Cal Poly athletes significant time previously spent walking, biking, or driving to the Upper Sports Complex each day.

“That adds up to a more rested football team and more time to ready themselves for their classroom responsibilities immediately following practice,” head football coach Tim Walsh said in the release. “It will have a tremendous impact on our recruiting efforts as well.”

A total of 13 donors have contributed $2.1 million for the project, a joint venture between Associated Students, Inc., and Cal Poly Athletics, with another $750,000 still needing to be raised.

The release also said the 140-yard practice field will feature Cal Poly branding, goalposts, two filming towers and a scoreboard.

“In reviewing the ways to make an immediate impact upon the student-athlete experience, we determined this to be the top priority,” Cal Poly athletic director Don Oberhelman said in the release. “We have other facility projects that we are working toward, but Doerr Family Field is one that we can complete quickly, and it will have such a positive impact upon every Mustang.”

Oberhelman also identified Ashley Offermann, the associated director of athletics for development, and deputy director of athletics Nick Pettit as two of the driving forces behind the substantial fundraising efforts.

Richard A. Doerr, who played football for the Mustangs from 1964-66 before graduating with a bachelors degree in physical education, currently serves on the Cal Poly Foundation Board of Directors. He is also the general partner of RAD Capital Management LP, a venture capital and private equity firm.

“The concept of a state-of-the-art practice facility really resonated with Kit and I because of how it would quickly impact so many student-athletes,” Doerr said, “and improve the football participants’ experience by having their practice facility, locker room, strength and conditioning room and sports medicine office all in the same location.”

Steve Jones, a former Cal Poly football player who was the lead donor for renovation of the football locker room in 2014, also “contributed his services to the Doerr Family Field project,” the release said.

“While our ambitions are even bigger and better facilities,” Jones said, “this will be a critical step in helping Cal Poly be competitive in the Big Sky Conference.”

Those interested in supporting the project can contact Offermann at or by calling 805-440-9792.